Tanzania: Red Cross scaling up efforts to aid homeless, injured and traumatized following earthquake

Published: 14 September 2016

Geneva/ Nairobi, 14 September 2016 – More than 50 volunteers and staff of the Tanzania Red Cross Society are rushing aid and care to hard-hit communities in Bukoba township, after a powerful earthquake killed 20 people and left hundreds more injured, homeless and in distress.

“The township’s hospital is overwhelmed and has a limited supply of medicine,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) regional office for Africa. “There is also an urgent need for food, shelter and psychosocial support in the affected areas.”

Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in the quake that hit north western Tanzania on Saturday, 10 September.

“Many families who lost homes or who are afraid to return to damaged ones are staying in open fields and are exposed to the elements and other health risks,” said Dr Nafo-Traore “This makes them even more vulnerable.”

Members of the local community are trying to host some of the affected families, however they are unable to take in the large number of people in need of shelter.

Dr Nafo-Traore says the earthquake also caused extreme panic in communities hit by the earthquake and many people are afraid and traumatized, especially children and the elderly.

The Tanzania Red Cross Society provided first-aid and other emergency care, including support to Bukoba’s hospital, in the aftermath of the quake. The IFRC is releasing money from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to bolster the effort and enable Red Cross staff and volunteers to scale-up critical health services, including psychosocial support to traumatized people in the worst affected areas.

While the extent of the damage in the urban areas is becoming clearer, Red Cross staff and volunteers are assessing the situation in more remote and rural areas, where the earthquake damaged roads, power supplies and other infrastructure.

“Access to these areas is challenging and the rains, which just started, may further hamper relief efforts,” said Dr Nafo-Traore.

The 5.9 magnitude quake has been described as the worst to hit the country in at least a decade.

For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:

In Dar es Salaam:

Renatus Mkaruka, Disaster Management and Risk Reduction, Tanzania Red Cross Society

Email: rmkaruka@yahoo.com - Tel: +255 713 412 791

Khamar Kashoro, Public Relations and Communications, Tanzania Red Cross Society

Email: khamar.kashoro@gmail.com - Tel: +255 755 195 031

In Nairobi:

Reeni Amin Chua, Acting Communications Manager, IFRC Africa

Email: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org - Tel: +254 731 688 613 / +41 79 708 6273 - Twitter: @reeniac

In Geneva:

Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Team Leader, Public Communications, IFRC

Email: Benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org - Tel: +41 79 213 24 13 - Twitter: BenoistC